May 29, 2024

Spokeo Review

Read more about Spokeo
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Spokeo retrieves background data on a person given their name, phone number, email, address, or username. But can you trust it? Read on to find out.

5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Comprehensive info
  • Reasonable cost
  • Responsive customer service
  • Some inaccuracies
  • US database only

Bottom Line

Affordable and fast people search tool with great customer service

What Is Spokeo?

Spokeo is a people search web tool that aggregates public data from online and offline sources. Just type a person's name or address, and it can retrieve tons of information about them.

According to its website, Spokeo pulls data from 12 billion+ records. These include phone books, real estate records, census data, mailing lists, surveys, public social media profiles, and many others.

Aside from basic contact details, you can access the following:

  • Info on family members and associates
  • Consumer profile
  • Employment/Business
  • Social media accounts
  • Property ownership
  • Criminal history
  • Personal finance
  • Past addresses
  • Marriage/Divorce/Death data

A broad search tool like Spokeo takes internet sleuthing up a notch, painting a bigger story about a specific individual. It can help you make decisions in different situations like who to trust within your social circle, pursue a good lead, or reconnect with those in your family tree.

How Does Spokeo Work?

Spokeo works by aggregating public records and providing them as an organized report for a fee. Initial results revealing age, city, state, and known relatives are accessible for free. Beyond that, the site will prompt a paywall.

Users can search for a person's details using their name, cell phone number, address, email, or username. Spokeo compiles and presents the available information, including their past and present addresses, wealth data, etc.

Spokeo's Search Concierge can assist you in your search tasks in case you encounter difficulty getting results.

Aside from personal use, there is a separate option for those who plan to use it for work. Spokeo for Business is tailored for businesses with multiple users, monitored by their own admin account.

The Law Enforcement option specializes in deep dives into social media profiles, which can facilitate searches on persons of interest through their digital trail.

Note that there is a search quota of 100 per month for subscriptions. But if you'll need more searches, simply go to your account menu and click Upgrade.[1]

Does Spokeo really work?
Spokeo works because it can provide a comprehensive report on a particular person just by typing their name or contact number, among other variables. However, you may not always get the most accurate information, e.g., contact details that come up may no longer be valid.

What's your main concern when using services like Spokeo?

Who is Spokeo Best For?

There are two types of users that Spokeo will be best for: one-offs and frequent users.

One-time users may need it for locating a family member or friend, determining an unknown caller's identity, vetting a new person, protection from a scammer, returning a lost item, or tracing a debtor.

Frequent users could include private investigators, debt collectors, real estate agents, or market researchers.

Pros & Cons

Here are the pros and cons of using Spokeo.

Pros:

  • Comprehensive information
  • Easy to use
  • Reasonable cost
  • Quick results
  • Searches are kept private
  • Industry experience
  • Responsive customer service
  • Opt-out for your own listing
  • Source transparency

Cons:

  • Does not guarantee data accuracy
  • US database only
  • Limited info for free searches
  • Extra charge for deeper searches
  • Search quota on subscription
  • Deceiving results for email search
  • Cannot be used for employment or credit evaluation

Spokeo stands out with its no-frills use and lightning-fast retrieval of the number of records it can provide on an individual. A basic name search will yield the person's age, location, and names of relatives at no extra cost.

If you think you'll only use it once, you can just pay a one-off fee to get a full report. You may also get a free subscription trial for 7 days as a bonus if it's available.

Speaking of subscriptions, Spokeo may be more affordable compared to competitors, but it has a finite number of searches. Nonetheless, you can always get more for a fee.

However, there have been reports that their results may be inaccurate or outdated. Even when you search using a totally made-up email address, Spokeo will still prompt you to unlock a full report, which is very deceptive.

When it comes to criminal records, Spokeo says they use corresponding court rulings as reference, making their results more accurate.

Spokeo search results cannot be used to evaluate individuals applying for a loan, job, or during a tenant screening. Only consumer reporting agencies can, based on the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).[2]

Spokeo Pricing

You cannot easily view the fees involved on the website unless you run a search first or click the Signup button.

To get a thorough report on your search results, you must pay a one-off fee of $0.95. It usually comes with a free subscription trial for 7 days, after which you are charged $29.95 per month.

If you sign up directly for a monthly subscription, it will only cost $19.95, while a 3-month membership is $44.85 (equivalent to $14.95/mo.). It auto-renews to prevent service interruption, which you can cancel anytime.

For businesses, you need to call them or go to their contact page to find out the cost. Spokeo provides tailor-fitted solutions to help your company get the most out of its people search capabilities.

Is Spokeo really worth it?
While it is not a perfect tool, Spokeo is worth using if you can retrieve information that achieves your purpose or helps your business. Sometimes, though, you need a detailed account, which Spokeo is unable to retrieve correctly or accurately.

Spokeo's Services

There's a lot you can do with a Spokeo subscription and its key features. Here are some of them:

  • People Search
    While social media has helped in this regard, not everybody is on it. Spokeo boasts access to databases that do not come up on internet searches using a person's name.

  • Reverse Phone Lookup
    Who's calling you? Whether it's a robo-caller or an actual person who's not on your contact list, Spokeo's mobile app displays their name and blocks them upon your instruction.

  • Reverse Email Lookup
    Use Spokeo's email lookup tool to get a wealth of information, such as the owner's name, social media accounts, pictures, and other details.

  • Reverse Address Search
    You can unlock the estimated market value of the property in that address for free. It even provides interior details like how many bedrooms and bathrooms it has, etc.

  • Reverse Username Search
    Getting suspicious about your spouse? Take the username in question and find out the social media profiles associated with it, including popular dating sites.

  • Background+ Report
    For an additional fee, you can unearth more in-depth information, such as assets, employment, and many more. You can also get details on third parties like relatives and neighbors.

  • Enhanced Report
    You may see an Enhanced Report button if more details are available during your search. But you need to pay for it with a credit card or a PayPal account. Results may contain marriage records, FAA licenses, and bankruptcies, among other things.

  • Court/Historical Search
    Discover any person's criminal history by activating Court Search in your subscription for an additional fee. Likewise, for any historical data, e.g., marriage, click Historical Search, followed by the Purchase button.

  • Spokeo Connections
    With this bonus feature, you can view your friends' social media in one place, ensuring you don't miss out on their life updates. It usually comes with a 30-day free trial after a subscription purchase.

Are Spokeo results accurate?
There have been instances where Spokeo's information had a high degree of accuracy, which helped reunite a woman with her biological family and outsmart a scammer.[3][4]. However, other users have reported inaccuracies in their search results as well.

How do you primarily intend to use Spokeo's services?

Is Spokeo Good for Background Checks?

Spokeo can provide a comprehensive report on an individual, which makes it easy for background checking. You may learn about their employment, marriage records, property ownership, and so much more.

Picture this: if you want to look up a person you met through online dating, you're likely to check out their socials one by one. But if they present you with info that doesn't add up, maybe you should use a bit more than a social media search.

Spokeo claims to use even proprietary databases that aren't accessible online, potentially giving you more in-depth information.[5]

That said, it is worth noting that it may not always be complete or entirely accurate. But thanks to its new Show Sources feature, it will tell you the data source. This helps you assess the kind of info you're getting since you know where it's from.

Is Spokeo legit or is it a scam?
Spokeo is a legitimate company that has been operating for almost 2 decades, serving as a people search tool for the last 14 years.[6] Although it isn't a perfect system, it isn't a scam either.

Spokeo Customer Reviews

Feedback on Spokeo has been mixed across different review sites. With over 700 reviews on Consumeraffairs.com, most customers gave it a low rating. Despite its A- business rating on Better Business Bureau, Spokeo reviews here weren't so kind either.

One of the most common concerns raised by reviewers is getting charged for a subscription after paying the one-off fee. Some are confused about what they're only getting with a regular subscription.

On Sitejabber.com, Spokeo has an average rating of 2.7 among 1,300+ reviews. It fares slightly better on Trustpilot, averaging a 2.9 customer rating from over 700 reviews. Many positive feedbacks highlight Spokeo as having the best customer service and successful searches.

Make sure to cancel Spokeo during your 7-day free trial or before your service's renewal date to avoid being charged for a monthly subscription of $29.95. You can call Spokeo Customer Care or go to your Account page and click Cancel.

Spokeo Alternatives

Below is a comparison table of Spokeo and 2 of its closest competitors, TruthFinder and Instant Checkmate.

SpokeoTruthFinderInstant Checkmate
Name search
Reverse phone lookup
Reverse email lookupx
Reverse address lookupx
Username lookupx
Dark web monitoringx
Criminal/traffic record check
Inmate locatorxx
Mobile appAndroid only
Single report feexx
1-month subscription fee$19.95$28.33[7]$35.47[8]

Spokeo vs. TruthFinder
TruthFinder performs a more thorough and accurate search than Spokeo. After running the same variables, both tools got different results. Spokeo spelled the name wrong and retrieved an outdated mailing address, while TruthFinder got the details correctly.

However, the retrieval time on Spokeo is a lot faster than TruthFinder. It tells you how many records it can show on a full report in less than a minute. TruthFinder takes about 15 minutes and prompts you to add validating criteria to refine its search.

TruthFinder scores big in providing dark web monitoring for a separate monthly fee. This is something many are becoming wary of since fraud and identity theft seem to happen all too often.

When it comes to the pricing structure, Spokeo is a lot more affordable and flexible. TruthFinder only has a monthly subscription you may be forced to get, even if it's a one-time full search report. Spokeo can charge you per record but will ultimately push you to buy their subscription.

Is it difficult to cancel Spokeo?
You can cancel your Spokeo account without much difficulty in several ways. One is by clicking Cancel under Manage settings on your account page. The other is by reaching out to their Customer Care via phone, email, or live chat.

Spokeo vs. Instant Checkmate
Interestingly, Instant Checkmate's retrieval process is similar to TruthFinder's. This means you'll experience the same wait times longer than Spokeo's.

When searching for a person's details, Spokeo allows other search criteria such as known address, email, and username. It also offers a much cheaper subscription and a one-off fee.

Although Spokeo will show any criminal record a person may have, Instant Checkmate boasts an additional facility for checking an inmate's location for free. You may also get information such as an early release or transfer to another prison, if applicable.

Like TruthFinder, Instant Checkmate provides unlimited searches and a mobile app for both IOS and Android devices. But unlike Spokeo, it has a separate fee to access unlimited PDF downloads of search reports.

Why would someone use Spokeo?
Spokeo is your best bet if you're searching for just one individual. A single report costs less than a dollar, which is affordable. Their search function is almost foolproof, and their customer service is quite good.

Things to Consider Before Hiring People Search Services

Here are a few things you might want to look for in a people search service:

  • Features
    Find out if the service can provide the info you need. Some background check services have dark web monitoring and inmate search capabilities.

    Others can give you a specific service, like a reverse phone lookup, that doesn't cost as much as a regular subscription service.

  • Frequency
    Are you just looking up on someone for curiosity's sake? Check if the service allows you to pay for one-offs instead of committing to a subscription right away.

  • Purpose
    Is this something you'll use for your business or personal inquiries? People search services may offer a business subscription that provides access to multiple users under one umbrella account.

  • Accuracy
    It's important to know the sources of data being provided to you, especially if they are sensitive in nature (such as a criminal record). This will help you assess how accurate or reliable they are.

  • User reviews
    Read up on customer feedback to learn about the experiences of real users. Although there is no such thing as a perfect service provider, see if there's more good than bad in what they say about them.

  • Cost
    Check if their fee is justified with the services it comes with. For instance, does its subscription cost more because it allows unlimited searches? Or is it cheaper because it only does one thing?

Bottom Line

Spokeo is a great option as a people search service, whether it's for personal or business use. You can trust this people search engine to give you a bigger story than simply running a Google search. Basic information is free while crucial details are locked behind a paywall.

While it has reasonable and flexible pricing, remember that other alternative people search tools capable of more comprehensive reports exist. In any case, do not use their data to assess loan, rent, or job applicants.

References

  1. ^ Spokeo. How Do I Increase My Search Quota?, Retrieved 1/31/2024
  2. ^ FTC. Fair Credit Reporting Act, Retrieved 2/6/2024
  3. ^ Spokeo. How Spokeo Helped Reunite a Woman with Her Biological Family, Retrieved 2/6/2024
  4. ^ Spokeo. Too Good to Be True, Retrieved 2/6/2024
  5. ^ Spokeo. Is Spokeo Free or Do I Have to Pay for the Services?, Retrieved 2/6/2024
  6. ^ Spokeo. About, Retrieved 2/6/2024
  7. ^ TruthFinder. TruthFinder Pricing & Membership Information, Retrieved 03/26/2024
  8. ^ Instant Checkmate. Instant Checkmate Pricing & Membership Information, Retrieved 03/26/2024

Write to Penelope Besana at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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